ESSAY UMBRALES

Black…the color of decomposition and death,
in landscapes, in objects… 
the silhouette of the stranger 
lost in "November's black destruction" 
(Helian); dig… 
under a rain of soot and amalgamated pieces, 
the weapon is heard again, a black instrument of 
lacerations.

White, absence of all absences,
counterpoint in the dance of white waters
emerging from the fateful riverbed. 
White as Gretl's shadow; 
her cheeks, her purity, petrified and livid. 
White is the color of lost souls 
who linger on with their obsessive and sensitive presence. 
Red…red is Pathos violence, 
the soul suffering 
before a white wailing wall.

The wailing is always the same from one wall to another…when a human being suffers, we all feel it in our bodies and share our pleas, the deaf and immutable stone of wall; wall of body, wall of time… Käthe Kollwitz once said her mission was to express "the enormous, endless suffering of man". In her work, which has ceaselessly tried to make us more conscious of pain and the suffering of the poor and oppressed, she finds a strange resemblance to the unifying pain in the clandestine voice of artists imprisoned in ghettos and concentration camps. At first glance, this might be due to the use of xylography; the laceration writing on wood is very characteristic, and engraving the skin or flesh of a tree makes visible the heart-rending cry caused by these wounds. The technique of xylography gives one the feeling of a skin being cut, and when it comes to representing the human body, its effects can be shocking. But besides the extraordinary way Mexicans, Germans or Jews have used engraving tools, the cry of pain of the flesh is terribly overwhelming. Therefore, the expression of pain goes beyond the link between techniques, and beyond frontiers and specificities, commemorations and fashions. The cry of the suffering flesh will always be beyond the fetters of any etiquette (vid. neo-expressionism), simply because heads are lost, faces disfigured and identities hard to recognize in a very recondite and inaccessible background. That is why, in Cecilia Hecht's pieces, what is emerging is nameless and tends to condense in a nocturnal mirror (vid. umbral) analogous graphic experiences, certain historical moments and even thoughts of ugliness with their attendant retinue of ghosts. But Cecilia's vision of the body is not a casual thing. Nowadays, the return to the human body, begun at the end of the seventies (especially in Berlin) is something that cannot be denied. The market decline of conceptualism has turned toe world tide of painting, from an almost academic vision to the return of the body as a measure of sensitivity. In Cecilia's drawings, we find the body as a zone of acceptance and propagation of the senses, and at the time a recurring academy that guarantees cohesion. After being dislocated as a result of scientific "interpretative theories of the body", the body recovers (and ton easily) a unique and privileged place here. Faced with the disfiguring forces of speed, crowds and wars, Cecilia has gone for a return of individuality, frequently showing a central figure bearing his loneliness with the resignation of Isaac and the stubbornness of some prophets, and a progressive familiarity with the ritual secret of unveiling what is hidden. That is why we use the term "academic", not just in the sense of a generalized use of the three stones as a principle of her drawings, but above all because of an anatomy that puts on the same footing all classic anatomies, the cadaver and the pleasure. To satisfy is, in effect, to sacrifice a pleasure, first eliminating the resistance in which the preliminary homicide of a body that considers pleasure the subject of desire is transformed into the object of satisfation. As Arnaud Moreaux said in his Introduction to the Artistic Anatomy of Man, weren't many celebrated pieces of dissection painted by the great masters? Didn't many of these pelvises and sectioned heads end up before these painters? Anatomy and pleasure are instruments of Knowledge, and it is logical that the passionate man comes before the wise man, even though both may be bound by death and the conscious intuition that there can be no voluptuousness without danger. Besides, we all know that great sensualists and Don Juan are frequently obsessed by death. This goes against the desire to beautify or moralize. Psychologists tell us that beauty is the opening to reality, a love that includes castration and sublimation, and that is the reason why the bodies that appear in paintings magically evoke loss and oblivion. Cecilia uses ugliness to show the weight of time. This ambivalence is both edifying and destructive: edifying, according to St. Bernard, because the essence of the soul becomes more visible as the body shrinks, and the void of death is simply a bolt of lightning that releases our flesh from the misery around us. Destructive, if we consider that ugliness operates in the sense of not-being, entropy making the past senescence. Cecilia makes us face uncertainty and the se-construction time wreaks on the body. If, as Kant said, the eyes of man are not mirror but a spiritual act, let us break the mirror so that the gleam in our eyes reflects greater intelligence and spirituality. 
 

Luis Pannier